Replacing your old lightbulbs with fluorescent models saves money. Replacing them with LED bulbs promises even greater efficiency ... at a hefty price.
LED bulbs are dramatically more expensive than fluorescents (bulbs in stores are usually compact fluorescents, or CFLs), partly because the technology is so new. Hoping to bring the cost of bulbs down is GE, which has announced plans to bring out an LED bulb that gives you 17 years worth of light and costs $50 per bulb.
According to Treehugger.com, LED bulbs haven't made a big splash in the market yet because of a lack of warm lighting (though the colors and temperatures are getting much better across the board).
GE says the new bulb uses just 9 watts and provides a 77% energy savings while lasting 25 times as long as the 40-watt bulb it's intended to replace. It also fits into standard incandescent sockets -- which should be a given because who would want to buy an LED bulb if it also requires replacing the socket?
The site also points out that the bulbs are merely 40 watt models at present. Who uses 40 watt bulbs, even in their closets? We need 60 and 100 watt replacement bulbs. Prices of these bulbs should drop as competition increases, especially in light of US federal lighting efficiency standards that start in 2012 and phase out incandescent bulbs altogether.
In 2012, 100-watt incandescents can no longer be made, with 75-watt bulbs phasing out in 2013, and 60- and 40-watt bulbs disappearing in 2014.